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Linguistics

An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences

Editor-in-Chief: Gast, Volker


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Band 51, Heft 1

Hefte

Interpreting resultative sentences in German: Stages in L1 acquisition

Michael Richter / Roeland van Hout
  • afdeling taalwetenschap, leerstoelgroep toegepaste taalwetenschap, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Erasmusplein 1 Postbus 9103, 6500 HD Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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Online erschienen: 05.01.2013 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2013-0004

Abstract

This article presents the results of a study on the interpretation and acceptance of adjectival resultatives of German children between 6 and 9 years of age and adults. These results brought to light significant differences, due to age, in the interpretation and acceptance of these resultatives, that is to say, sentences with an adjective in the final position. The youngest participants were prone to accept ungrammatical sentences by assigning a resultative meaning. The ungrammaticality of the sentences in question was not due to semantic inconsistencies but to violations of the selectional properties of verbs, as for instance in *die Kinder erschrecken die Katze ängstlich ‘the children frighten the cat scared’. In contrast, the adults rejected or amended those sentences. The conclusion is (a) that the children seemed to rely on the sentence structure as a primary cue to compute the meaning of an utterance and (b) that, in contrast with adults, the youngest children in particular had not yet learned the relevant semantic properties of verbs that determine the selectional restrictions and thus the syntactic options of verbs. This means that differences in interpretation and acceptance of sentences are due to differences in knowledge of semantic verb properties between adults and children. The relevant semantic knowledge increases in gradual stages during language acquisition.

Keywords: first language acquisition; frame compliance; grammatical judgments; verb classes; resultative sentences

Artikelinformationen

Institut für Germanistik, Universität Potsdam, Am Neuen Palais 10, 14469 Potsdam, Germany


Online erschienen: 05.01.2013

Erschienen im Druck: 04.01.2013


Quellenangabe: , Band 51, Heft 1, Seiten 117–144, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2013-0004.

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[2]
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